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School head accused of sex abuse

By HUANG YIMING in Haikou and CAO YIN in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-14 02:17

A school principal and a government employee have been detained in Hainan province on suspicion of sexually molesting six students, in a case that caused great concerns among parents.

The principal, identified only as Chen, and the employee are suspected of taking six sixth-grade girls from Houlang Primary School to hotels in Wanning and Haikou, capital of the province, according to the public security bureau of Wanning in China's southernmost island province.

Prosecutors are investigating the case, the bureau said.

The students' ages are not revealed, but sixth-graders are usually 11 or 12 years old.

The alleged incident came to light after a teacher in the school contacted the girls' parents after she found them absent from class on Wednesday, the police said.

About 11 pm on Thursday, police found four of the girls. One was at her relative's home in Haikou, and the other three were found in a rented room in the western part of the capital.

The other two pupils were found in a holiday village in Wanning at around 10 am on Friday after police said they were told the government official had taken them there.

The Wanning education authority has removed Chen from his post, and said the six victims are receiving one-on-one psychological counseling.

Legal Daily reported on its website that security-camera footage at a hotel recorded a man with four of the girls on Wednesday night, and added that some victims had bruises on their hands and necks.

Police did not confirm that report when contacted by China Daily, saying only that the investigation continues.

The case has aroused the public's attention and panicked parents. A Wanning resident named Wen said he is considering transferring his child from Houlang Primary School.

"It's really horrible. I'm very sorry about the six children," he said. "All the victims were minors, why were they permitted to enter the hotel rooms? The hotels' supervision and management is simply lax."

Sun Shang, a teacher at Haikou No 1 Middle School, said he will take better care of his students and tell them to pay more attention to protecting themselves.

But Yang Huaji, whose 11-year-old daughter is studying in Haikou, thought it was only an isolated case and parents should not overreact.

"I'll take it as a warning for my child's safety in school," he said.

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